Only a quarter of UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are active internationally, according to a report by FedEx Express.

A third of the 1,000 UK business owners surveyed said that tapping into international audiences would be essential to their success in the coming year.

Businesses trading internationally are three times more likely to grow than those who do not. However, over half of the respondents said that they would require more support in order to achieve this.

Although the UK recorded the strongest export growth in the EU in 2013, SMEs are still struggling to enter emerging markets, such as China, Russia, Brazil and India.

The report uncovered a large amount of optimism for the future of exports, with 41% predicting that their activities will be mostly international in just five years’ time, rising to 57% in 15 years.

Trevor Hoyle, vice president for FedEx Express UK & Ireland, said:

“Now is the time for UK businesses to prepare for the internationalisation of their activities.

“This will allow them to get off to a flying start on the global stage and succeed in driving the UK economy forward, as long as they have access to the correct support required to help propel them to continuing international success.”

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